Settlement reached in lead paint suit against city

LACONIA — A settlement has been reached in a civil suit filed against the city of Laconia by a family which maintains that their son who has been diagnosed with developmental and cognitive disorders caused by lead paint ingestion.
The $125,000 settlement was approved Monday by Judge James D. O'Neill III in Belknap County Superior Court following several years of litigation. Stephanie Randall and her minor son filed suit for negligence, negligent misrepresentation, and violating the Consumer Protection Act, claiming the city failed to disclose that the house which she and Jamison Randall bought on 192 Elm Street in 2003 was contaminated.
The suit was originally filed in 2012, nine years after the Randalls bought the home from the city. At the time of the sale, the city allegedly failed to provide the Randalls with the proper lead paint remediation documentation.
The city had purchased the home at 192 Elm Street in Lakeport in 1998. At that time it was a group home and the city bought it in order to provide extra storage and parking for the neighboring Goss Reading Room, a branch of the Laconia Public Library. The seller turned over to the city a 1996 Lead Paint Inspection Report which was conducted by Alpha Lead Consultants Inc. that indicated lead-based paint was present in the home.
Three years after the purchase of the home, in 2006 the Randalls, who already had two daughters, had a son. In 2008, the Randalls learned their son had a blood lead level of 21 mg/dl; 5 mg/dl is considered the highest acceptable level.
The Alpha report was turned over to the family's attorney as part of the initial discovery process after the suit was filed.
The city had tried in 2012 to get the case dismissed, arguing that the statute of limitations, from the time of the sale to the date the injury was first discovered, had expired.
The trial court originally agreed with the city in a summary judgment ruling. However in May of 2012 the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, overturned the ruling, concluding that the Randalls could not have known of the injury within three years of the sale, because the child wasn't born yet.
A footnote in the ruling said that it was not entirely clear why the city had not completed a disclosure form or divulged the Alpha report, ''although there is some suggestion that that the Alpha report might have been housed in a separate library file as opposed to a city file.''
Another footnote says that Randall said he thought there was no need for an inspection because his wife, on a tour of the property, had been told by a library employee that any lead-based paint issues would have been taken care of by the former owner, the group home, when it applied for licensing. The city had disputed that the employee made the remark but Circuit Court of Appeals judge ruled that it was not necessary for the court to resolve the factual dispute.
Atty. Christopher Seufert, who represented the Randall family, was award included legal fees in the amount of $31,250 and legal expenses of $17,214. The balance of $76,535 will be paid to a Belknap County Probate Court account for the damages suffered by the woman's minor child.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 905

Driver in fatal Parade Road crash sentenced to state prison

LACONIA — A man who who was driving a car that crashed into a tree on Parade Road last November in an accident which claimed the life of a Laconia woman and severely injured a passenger has been sentenced to the State Prison and ordered to pay funeral expenses and medical costs of the victims.
Ryan Mears, 26, formerly of Windsong Drive, Kingston, entered a negotiated plea of guilty to three charges in the accident; negligent homicide, second degree assault and a controlled drug violation and was sentenced Monday by Judge James D. O'Neill III in Beknap County Superior Court..

He had admitted to police that he had used cocaine before the accident and had had at least three shots of whiskey.
Killed instantly in the Nov. 2 accident was Tiffany Nieves, 28, of Laconia, who was a passenger in the back seat of the black Cadillac. Another passenger, Jeremy King, 28, of Atkinson, was taken to the intensive care unit at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon.
Mears was sentenced to 10 years maximum, five years minimum in State Prison on the negligent homicide charge and given credit for 98 days of pre-trail confinement. He was also ordered to pay $10,020.32 for funeral expenses for Nieves and fined $4,960, which was suspended upon 15 years of good behavior.
On the second degree assault charge he received a suspended sentence of three and a half to seven years in the state prison and was ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution for King's medical expenses.
On the controlled drug charge he was sentenced to one and a half years to three years in the state prison which will be served concurrently with the negligent homicide sentence. A $1,240 fine was suspended.
Mears was also ordered to undergo drug and alcohol treatment and counseling, as well as participate in educational programs, his drivers license was suspended indefinitely and he was ordered to have no contact with the crash victim's family or with King.
Police had initially reported that the vehicle was headed north on Parade Road, just past the Elm Street intersection, November 2 at 1:57 a.m. when the car crossed into the south bound lane, collided with a tree, and catapulted back into the road way.
A medical examiner had ruled that Nieves was killed instantly by blunt-force trauma. She was a passenger in the back seat and the examiner said she died of a torn aorta, a lacerated heart and lung and a fractured skull. She was found lying in the back seat.
At Mears' probable cause hearing on November 19, the preliminary investigating officer said King had been partially ejected from the car and was hanging by his feet with his head toward the ground when she arrived at the scene. She said that Mears was pinned behind the steering wheel in the front seat.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 922

Gilford meadows fields progressing. Harlem Wizards to peform at a fundraiser - 261

 GILFORD — Gilford Meadows Committee Chair Sue Allen and Superintendent Kent Hemingway said last week that the work on the second field is progressing.

He said the newest practice field has been tilled and seeded and should be ready for use next spring.

"The new field had a continental divide," quipped Hemingway and the recent selectman's meeting in referring to the old corn rows that lie under the grass. He said the old corn ridges made it unsafe.

The playing fields at the meadows is an all-volunteer effort with a considerable amount in-kind work being done by various local companies and vendors.

The Meadow's Committee has been working for about 11 years to develop the property that was donated to the Gilford School District by Raymond and Barbara Carye in 2000. The original plan called for a new high school on that site but voters rejected that plan.

Over the past 11 years, the actual football and lacrosse field has been constructed and Gilford Football plays it home games there including tomorrow's homecoming game.

Hemingway said the irrigation system donated by Gilford Well is working "spectacularly" and the newest practice field was tilled with the assistance of Beans and Green owner Andy Howe.

Allen said that an upcoming fundraiser will bring the Harlem Wizards to the High School gymnasium on November 17. The Wizards are a charity comedy basketball team that perform throughout the world entertaining audiences with the basketball antics and raising money mostly for local schools and charities.

  • Category: Local News
  • Hits: 577